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Letters | Alternate-day Kindergarten is not best option for students
The Snoqualmie Valley School District (SVSD) is considering major restructuring of the current Kindergarten daily schedule.
Rather than attending school five half-days per week, students would only go to school two or three times per week for the full day. This change would not be made to better our students’ academic learning or enhance a new curriculum; it is purely to cut costs and save money.
Times are hard and budgets are tight. The school board and district have said they strive to make cuts that would not affect student learning. This particular choice, however, would be a significant detriment to our Kindergartens, with negative impacts during this crucial first year.
It is well-established that Kindergarten-aged children have short attention spans and learn best through repetition. By forcing students to cram two days worth of lesson plans into one long, 6.5 hour day, the amount of information students can learn will be severely diluted. While the new proposal boasts an additional 28 hours (per school year) of student-teacher contact time, the question must be asked, “Which is more important: quality or quantity?”
These students will not have the luxury of “break time” like the every-day students. These alternate day children will need to cram as much as possible before leaving the classroom, often not returning for another five days.
This new model lacks the opportunity to practice new skills through daily repetition, consideration for attention span, and consistency of routine and schedule—making the transition to first grade that much more difficult. It would also be emotionally draining for many of these young students to be gone from home, some for the first time, and be expected to perform for six hours a day.
SVSD Board Members have expressed interest in hearing from the community. Public meetings are in the process of being scheduled. To help our school board make a decision on this matter, I encourage parents to engage in this discussion, become informed, and let your feelings be known.